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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Jul;26(7):1648-52. Epub 2006 May 4.

Clopidogrel improves systemic endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability in patients with coronary artery disease: evidence for antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects.

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Universitäres Herzzentrum Hamburg, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.



Platelet stimulation and activation are known not only as prerequisite of clot formation but are increasingly recognized as important contributors to inflammation and vascular injury. The present study in patients with symptomatic coronary disease investigated whether platelet adenosine diphosphate receptor blockade by clopidogrel exerts beneficial effects on endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability, oxidative stress, and/or inflammatory status.


One hundred three consecutive patients with symptomatic coronary disease and long-term aspirin therapy were studied. Endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation was determined measuring forearm blood flow (FBF)-responses to acetylcholine with and without N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginin (L-NMMA) and sodium nitroprusside, by using venous occlusion plethysmography. Patients were randomized to receive additional treatment with clopidogrel or placebo. Vascular function tests were repeated after 5 weeks and showed significant improvement of acetylcholine-induced vasodilatation and L-NMMA responses in the clopidogrel-added group (max. FBF from 9.8+/-0.3 to 14.7+/-0.4; L-NMMA-response from 3.7+/-0.1 to 6.8+/-0.3 mL/100 mL/min). In contrast, no significant changes were observed in the placebo group. Sodium nitroprusside-induced vasodilation was not changed in either group. Urinary excretion of 8-iso-prostaglandin F2alpha and plasma levels of hsCRP, sCD40L, and RANTES were reduced in patients on additional treatment with clopidogrel, but not in patients on placebo.


Clopidogrel improves endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability and diminishes biomarkers of oxidant stress and inflammation in patients with symptomatic coronary artery disease, suggesting that beyond inhibition of platelet aggregation, adenosine phosphate receptor blockade may also have promising vasoprotective effects.

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